Medical Definition of Horror autotoxicus

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Horror autotoxicus: Literally, the horror of self-toxicity. A term coined by the great German bacteriologist and immunologist Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915) to describe the body's innate aversion to immunological self-destruction. However, as we now know, the immune system can upon occasion attack itself and does so in the autoimmune disorders.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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